What are the most dangerous cities in the U.S.? We took a deep dive into data to grade the most populated America cities on how safe or unsafe they might be and how likely it is that you might be the victim of a crime. By scouring statistics, we found the areas with the highest crime rate. Cities in the U.S. with a high incidence of rape, murder, robbery, and assault can and do improve; however, it’s important to know the facts about violent crime in these populated areas.
We created our Violent Crime Index by comparing the top 50 most populous cities in the United States. We combined these key statistics on violent crime rates by city:
- Rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter incidents per 100,00 residents
- Rate of rape incidents per 100,000 residents
- Rate of robbery incidents per 100,000 residents
- Rate of aggravated assault incidents per 100,00 residents
- Rate of total violent crime incidents per 100,000 residents
We then graded U.S. cities by crime rate with a score of A, B, C, D, or F.
What Is the Most Dangerous City in the U.S.?
Using an index of five factors, we have determined America’s most dangerous city to be Detroit. In a comparison of U.S. crime rates in America’s 50 most populous cities, Detroit had the highest rate for aggravated assault. Interestingly, it is not the city with the highest murder rate, rape rate, or robbery rate, but its high scores in all areas rank it at the top of the list of most dangerous cities in the U.S. overall.
The Top 10 Most Violent Cities in America
1. Detroit, MI (Score: 1,918.78)
With a rate of more than 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Detroit has earned an F on our ranking of the most dangerous cities in America. With a high rate of aggravated assault, the city has fairly high scores across the board. That being said, the city that was abandoned by massive outsourcing efforts has actually experienced a drop in crime rates over the past year.
2. Memphis, TN (Score: 1,682.98)
With an unusually high rate of robbery (343.97 out of 100,000), Memphis is another city that’s actually getting safer on the whole. That being said, Memphis is not a place to leave your car or valuables unattended.
3. Kansas City, MO (Score: 1,446.95)
Kansas City has a high rate of aggravated assault, ranking it among the most violent cities in the U.S. The city police department uses crime mapping to help locals keep track of these crimes as they happen, so if you’re visiting or living in the area, that may be a good thing to check.
4. Baltimore, MD (Score: 1,355.39)
With more than double the robbery rate of Detroit, this city ranks fourth on our list. Baltimore also has the worst score when you consider the murder rate by city among the top 25 cities on our list, with more than 50 per 100,000 residents. The city recorded 348 homicides in 2019. Some blame the city’s soft-on-crime policies, and others paint a wider picture of the issues. That being said, the area might continue to climb higher on the list of the deadliest cities in the U.S.
5. Cleveland, OH (Score: 1,172.71)
This low-murder-rate, high-robbery-rate city has experienced progress in terms of lowering its crime rate overall. That being said, it’s still quite an unsafe city.
6. Milwaukee, WI (Score: 1,170.66)
Milwaukee leaders have been patting themselves on the back for a recent statistic: Violent crime in the city has dropped by 33 percent in the past five years. It still has fairly high metrics for rape and aggravated assault, however.
7. Albuquerque, NM (Score: 1,127.87)
With high rates of rape and aggravated assault, Albuquerque also happens to be the top city for auto theft.
8. Wichita, KS (Score: 1,114.51)
Wichita has experienced a sharp increase in its violent crime statistics. By city standards, it ranks fairly well for murders and robberies, but it has very high rates of rape and aggravated assault.
9. New Orleans, LA (Score: 1,101.59)
One of the cities with the most murders on our list, New Orleans also has the highest rate of rape among the top 25 cities, with more than 170 rapes per 100,000 people. This may be because the city has been notoriously lax on convictions and arrests.
10. Indianapolis, IN (Score: 1,066.40)
Surprisingly, Indianapolis ranks above cities like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. While examining crime rates by city, those places don’t have a murder rate that’s nearly as high. With more than 18 murders out of 100,000 people, Indianapolis has experienced an odd homicide problem.